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Politics & Government
7:37 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Ala. Governor Signs Law Making Home Brewing Legal

Home brewing in Alabama is now legal thanks to legislation signed by Governor Robert Bentley.
Brewers Association/brewersassociation.org

Alabama's governor has signed legislation making home brewing legal.

Alabama had been the only state banning the home brewing of beer and wine, but the Legislature passed a bill Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he signed the bill Thursday. The new law takes effect immediately.

The American Homebrewers Association estimates there are 5,000 home brewers in Alabama, even though the practice has been illegal.

The new law allows them to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months. It cannot be sold.

Business & Education
7:28 am
Fri May 10, 2013

School Security Officer Bill Passes Ala. House

Lawmakers have approved a school safety bill that would allow city and county school systems to hire armed security officers.
Mongtomery Advertiser

In a late night session, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a school safety bill that will allow city and county school systems to hire armed school security officers.

The bill by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery was crafted in response to the Sandy Hook school shootings. The House approved it 97-3.

Politics & Government
6:57 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Alabama Legislature Approves General Fund Budget

The Alabama Senate and House passed budgets for education and the General Fund on Thursday, May 9.
The Associated Press

The Alabama Legislature has approved a compromise General Fund budget that increases funding for courts and prisons.

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State Budgets
5:18 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Ala. Legislators OKs $5.8 Billion School Budget

A nearly $5.8 billion school budget now heads to Governor Robert Bentley for his approval.
Credit State of Alabama

The Alabama Legislature has approved a nearly $5.8 billion education budget that will fund a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees and give extra money to all levels of education.

The House approved the budget 70-26 Thursday afternoon. The budget got approved in the Senate 22-11 on Tuesday and now goes to the governor for his review. The budget provides a 3.6 percent increase in spending after several years of recession-riddled budgets.

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Private School Tax Credits
5:07 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Senate Approves Changes To Ala. Accountability Act

The Alabama Senate has approved changes to the Alabama Accountability Act regarding transferring students.
Credit The Associated Press

The Alabama Senate has approved legislation saying private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students transferring from failing public schools.


The Senate voted 21-12 Thursday for a bill making changes to the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill makes clear that a student transferring from a failing school in one school system to a non-failing school in another system has to provide his own transportation. It also tightens up which schools will be designated failing schools.

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Gun Compromise
4:58 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

House, Senate Still Negotiating On AL Gun Law

The two chambers of the Alabama legislature are still working out their differences over this session's main gun bill.

The main gun bill before Alabama lawmakers is headed to a compromise committee of senators and representatives.


Sen. Scott Beason, the Senate sponsor, says he couldn't sign off on the version that House members passed late last week after reaching a compromise that involved law enforcement leaders and the National Rifle Association.

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Medicaid Funding
4:54 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Alabama Legislature Extends 2 Taxes For Medicaid

The state legislature has voted to extend two taxes that support the state Medicaid program
Credit texastribune.org

The Alabama Legislature has voted to extend two taxes that support the state Medicaid program.


The assessments on nursing homes and hospitals were due to expire this year, but the Senate gave final approval Thursday to bills that extend the nursing home tax for two years and the hospital tax for three years. The bills passed the House earlier and now go to the governor to be signed into law.


Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur says the bills were critical to maintaining Medicaid services for low-income Alabamians.

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Business & Education
7:57 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Media Commentator Brad Moody Retiring from AUM

Political scientist Brad Moody is retiring after a 40-year career at Auburn University Montgomery.
Auburn Montgomery

One of Alabama's best known political scientists is retiring.

Brad Moody is ending a 40-year career of teaching political science and public administration at Auburn University Montgomery. Moody is a Texas native who arrived at AUM in 1972 and soon made a name for himself as a media commentator on Alabama government and politics.

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Politics & Government
7:29 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Ala Prisons Still Understaffed Despite New Workers

Alabama's prison system is getting dozens of new officers, but officials say it's still badly understaffed.

The Department of Corrections is holding a graduation ceremony in Selma on Thursday for 70 new correctional officers. It's the first of three corrections classes planned for this year at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center.

But department spokesman Brian Corbett says the agency loses more than 20 officers a month through attrition, so the new officers only make up for three months of normal turnover.

Business & Education
6:56 am
Thu May 9, 2013

UAB, 4 Community College Launch Partnership

UAB President Ray L. Watts, center, announced an admissions partnership with four Alabama community colleges that will allow those that earn associate's degrees at those four colleges to be automatically admitted to UAB
Madison Underwood | AL.com

The University of Alabama Birmingham has launched a partnership with four community colleges allowing students who earn an associate's degree automatic admission to UAB and a $2,000 per year scholarship.

AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/16ijqVT ) UAB President Ray Watts announced the partnership Wednesday with leaders from Gadsden State, Jefferson State, Lawson State and Wallace State-Hanceville.

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Business & Education
6:53 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Birmingham Educator Named Alabama Teacher of Year

Birmingham high school teacher Alison Grizle has been named the 2013-2014 Alabama Teacher of the Year.
al.com

A Birmingham high school teacher has been named the 2013-2014 Alabama Teacher of the Year.

Alison Grizzle, a math teacher at P.D. Jackson Olin High School, will serve as the spokesperson and representative for teachers in Alabama for the next year.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice made the announcement at a Wednesday celebration honoring the 12 semi-finalists and four finalists who were nominated for the coveted title.

Carnival Triumph
4:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Disabled Cruise Ship Leaves Ala. Port

After three months in Mobile the disabled Carnival Triumph is headed back out to sea.
Credit U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr

The Carnival Triumph is headed back to sea three months after limping into port following a fire at sea.


The almost 900-foot-long cruise ship left the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile under its own power Wednesday after extensive work to repair damage from an engine room fire.


The Miami-based Carnival says the Triumph is headed to Freeport, Bahamas, for more repairs and upgrades.


It's supposed to return to service June 13 with a cruise from Galveston, Texas.

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Adoption Law
4:50 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

New Law Streamlines Adoption For Foster Children

Governor Robert Bentley has signed a new law that will streamline the adoptions of foster children.
Credit governor.alabama.gov

Adoptions involving foster children will be streamlined in Alabama under a new law that Gov. Robert Bentley has signed.


Bentley and legislative leaders say the Best Interest of the Child Act will prevent foster families from having to wait several years before being able to adopt children in their care.


The law shortens from 15 months to 12 months the time that must pass after a child is in state custody before a court can consider a request to terminate parental rights.

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Politics & Government
4:34 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

GOP Advances Plan To Change Registration Deadline

Republican lawmakers have advanced a plan to that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.

Republican lawmakers are pushing a plan that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.


Current law allows registration until 10 days before an election. A Republican bill would change the deadline to 17 days. The measure passed a Senate committee Wednesday on a party line vote. It now goes to the full Senate.


Republicans say local registrars need more time to prepare accurate voting lists for poll workers to use on election day. Democrats say the move will make it harder for people to vote.

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Arts & Life
8:34 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Fans of Blues Joint Show Support at City Meeting

Henry "Gip" Gipson owns the Bessemer juke joint.
The Birmingham News / Hal Yeager

About 100 supporters of a popular blues establishment in Bessemer packed a city council meeting in an effort to persuade city officials to allow the club to remain open.

Many in the audience Tuesday night spoke in support of Gip's Place and its proprietor, Henry "Gip" Gipson.

Bessemer police shut down the club last week. Authorities say it's not properly zoned and has been operating illegally.

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